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First Atlantic crossing of glider accomplished

Posted on 15.01.2010 - 09:00 EST in AUV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

First Atlantic crossing of glider accomplishedOn April 27, 2009, students and scientists from Rutgers University launched a small underwater robotic glider off the coast of New Jersey. The glider was christened The Scarlet Knight by Zdenka Willis, director of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System. While previous explorers like Columbus and Lindbergh used boats or planes to cross the Atlantic, The Scarlet Knight will attempt to be the first underwater robot to cross the Atlantic Ocean. With help from a number of international partners, students from the Coastal Ocean Observation Lab will pilot The Scarlet Knight Glider on its eight-month voyage.

On December 4 at 9:00am Spanish time the crew on the Investigador found RU27. She is still mostly yellow but it sounds like we have similar barnacle growth to what we saw in the Azores. After 221 days at sea, 7,389km and 102.6% across the Atlantic, Scarlet has been successfully recovered.

The first Zodiac trip out to the glider was to give it a visual inspection. The inspection was conducted along with two of Rutgers partners from Spain. The second trip out was for video documentation of the biological growth. Three men boarded the zodiac and headed out for an early morning snorkel session. At this point they were informed that the captain and crew were becoming increasingly nervous about the sea conditions. Since arriving on location they have seen increased wind speeds, which has lead to an increase in wave height. The third and final zodiac trip consisted of three men and this was to actually recover Scarlet. After a few seconds of pauses all of sudden there was an uproar of cheering and clapping. Scarlet was safely onboard the zodiac!

With weather becoming a rapidly increasing concern, the zodiac headed back to the boat. After they secured Scarlet in the zodiac, the crew climbed aboard and then the zodiac was hoisted up. There was yet another round of cheering as emotions ran wild. It was a job well done by all and rumor has it Scarlet has already gotten a sampling on champagne to celebrate the occasion.

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